Central Testing Laboratory Ltd.
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October 22, 2018

Heavy Metal Contamination in Feed samples

Contaminated animal feed and feed ingredients can originate from the environment or the production process. This may cause severe health hazards to livestock and humans.

The heavy metals Cadmium (Ca), Lead (Pb), Arsenic (As) and Aluminum (Al) should be monitored carefully according to guidelines for safe levels. Feed mills, Feed companies, and Farms should have program for a frequent sampling of the feed ingredients (mineral supplements and premixes) and complete feeds. When heavy metal levels exceed the permitted levels, this will result in a health risk for animals and for human consumption. Livestock that consume feeds with high levels of heavy metals, will accumulate it in their tissue. Contaminated animals could transfer metal toxins to animal feed chain, to the environment, to food of animal origin (liver, meat and milk) and to people working with these animals and products.

The environmental sources that contribute to heavy metal contamination are burning coal, gas and oil and incinerating waste materials. The higher heavy metal contamination particularly in Asia and other non- European countries.

Feeds that are identified with heavy metal contamination should not be fed to animals to avoid it passing to food products.

Our 1MEH package is designed for testing feed samples for heavy metal contamination.

September 20, 2018

Testing Grain and Forage as Marketing Tool

This year, in 2018, we are finding a mix of quality occurring in all samples. What are the important things to do in order to have a profitable business?

You need to know the cost of your production and your crop’s quality.  In order for you to have a strong marketing plan, knowing what you have to sell, will help you determine how to price your crop, and how to valuate it. Testing your inventory for nutritional analysis, diseases and grade will increase your sales potential.

You need to know who is your target market. Is it food? Is it suitable for hogs?  Would a high production Dairy buy this?  How does it compare with other options?  Once you know that you need to provide them with the right quality parameters. Each sector in the industry has its needs and requirements.

Testing is critical for both; sellers and buyers. Buyers are willing to pay for the quality they are seeking for. Testing your grain for marketing purposes is a real investment, and we are here for you to help you with that!

August 22, 2018

Sugar content and Starch in Horse forage

Horse’s digestion system works best when eats a good quality forage / hay in frequent feedings. Some horses are sensitive to “high sugar feeds”, which can lead to; colic, laminitis and insulin resistance.

All feeds and forages have Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can be in a form of simple sugars, starches and a complex of carbohydrates. Simple sugars are a one sugar unit. Starches are a small groups of sugar units. Complex carbohydrates are sugar units connected together, and must be fermented by bacteria.

Feed consultant or a veterinarian can determine the right sugar levels for your horse. Therefore, it is important to test feed for sugar levels. In order to evaluate carbohydrate levels in the diet, please look for:

WSC (Water Soluble Carbohydrates): simple or a complex of sugars that are extracted from the feed with water, and it can cause laminitis.

ESC (Ethanol Soluble Carbohydrates): this is a fraction of WSC to evaluate one set of carbs that causes high glycemic response.

Starch: when large amounts of starches are fed, it can cause problems associated with lactic acid production.

Our 10FF forage package is an Equine Nutrition package designed to provide Protein, Minerals, ESC, Starch, WSC, Proximates and NFC (Non Fiber Carbohydrates), RFV (Relative Feed Value), TDN (Total Digestible Nutrients) and NSC (Non- Structural Carbohydrates) calculations.

One of the best horse feeding practices is testing forage and hay for sugars and starch.

July 18, 2018

Medicated feed and Medication Residue

Medicated feed is a mixture of animal feed with medicinal product (can contain one or more active substances). Each medicated feed must be labeled and the drug levels have to permitted as per regulatory requirements. The usage of medication in animal feed requires involvement of a licensed veterinarian. The facility, or the feed mill, should be registered and approved for medicated feed production.

Medication/ drug residue is checked after a cleanout procedure of the equipment is done. Some medications can interfere and lead to a high risk situation.

In order to keep animal feed safe, the following validation steps should be taken:

  • Supporting documentation on the cleanout procedures and their effectiveness.
  • Standards of operations to monitor and verify every step in the process.
  • The final feed product should be sent to a laboratory for analysis, and  the laboratory must use an approved method for drug residue testing.

We test animal feed for the most common medications that are used in the animal industry: Chlortetracycline and Sulfamethazine.

Chlortetracycline is used in animal feed to treat minor bacterial skin infections.

Sulfamethazine is an antibacterial drug and it is used for bacterial respiratory infections.

The target in Medication residue is to get no detection residue.

Using medicated feed helps to prevent and treat diseases in your herd. It improves production and animal health.

Contact us for medication residue testing.


June 28, 2018

Commercial pet food vs. Homemade pet food

People become more and more aware on the importance of pet food analysis. Pet owners ask; Is the pet food safe enough? Is the pet food healthy enough? One of the most common questions asked is- Should I feed my pet with commercial pet food or with homemade pet food and what are the risks associated?

Shortly after we adopt a new pet, It becomes one of our family members. For some people, their pet is their whole life. Therefore, this is our responsibility to treat them appropriately. Our pet’s food is one of the most important aspects in pet’s healthy lifestyle.

Since all pets are different, commercial pet food may not fit to all pets. Some pets may be sensitive to certain ingredients. Pet food effects on pet’s activity level and lifestyle, and should be chosen based on pet’s age, medical history and breed.  Cats and dogs have different requirements and it’s always a good idea to consult your veterinarian on your pet’s diet. Veterinarian can advise you on certain commercial pet food product for your pet, on product’s recall history and your pet’s dietary needs. When there is a health concern, you may send the pet food sample to the lab for testing.  We can offer many different tests to narrow down the root cause of the problem, we suggest you talk to your vet about the symptoms, so that we can narrow down the right test for you.  Some of the things we can test for are: Moisture, Protein, Fat, Fibre, Minerals, Starch, Sugar, Heavy metals, Mycotoxins, Mold, Pathogens and Allergens like Gluten.

Homemade pet food can accommodate your pet’s nutritional needs. Homemade pet food has many benefits, as you can control what your pet is eating.  You must be careful in choosing the raw materials and how you handle and store them.

We are proud to offer Pet Food Analysis. We have designed pet food packages according to customer’s needs. We can provide additional services and testing for pet food analysis, upon request. We have been working with the largest pet food manufacturers in Canada. Reach to us today to get a quote, or to customize a package for you.



May 24, 2018

Mixer Efficiency in Feed samples

The main purpose of measuring mixer performance is to assure that an animal receives all of the feed nutrients with the right proportion on a daily basis. Assessing mixer efficiency is critical, as high or concentrated feed ingredients may be toxic. Getting your mixer samples tested for coefficient of variation (CV) is a regulatory requirement from CFIA.


In order to get the most accurate testing results for mixer efficiency, we recommend to follow these guidelines:

  • Sampling- Sample should represent the feed is distributed to an animal from the mixer. Use a scoop to collect the desired sample volume. Store the sample in a sealed Ziploc bag or in a container. Collect randomly 10 samples of the finished feed.
  • Sample size- Collect 100- 150 grams of each sample of a Ration or Mineral samples. For Total Mixed Rations (TMRs) collect 500 grams of each sample for testing.
  • Frequency- make sure you get mixer efficiency done: within a maximum period of 90 days after the installation of a new or replacement mixer, after a major repair or modification that could impact on the functioning of the mixer, or periodically, but at a minimum once every one to three years depending on the risk profile of the facility

Feeds are considered homogenous when CV for the batch is:

  • no greater than 5% for dilute drug premixes
  • no greater than 10% for micro or macro premixes and supplements
  • no greater than 15% for complete feeds and total mixed rations


Based on your feed ingredients in the feed ration, decide if you need to test for Macro minerals; Ca, P, K, Mg, Na, or for Micro minerals Cu, Fe, Mn, Zn. Our packages are designed this way, so you can choose to test one mineral from a group, or two or more minerals from the same or both groups. We are an accredited laboratory in Mineral analysis.

Get in touch with us today!

























Apr 24, 2018

Particle size in Forage and TMR samples

Forage and TMR particle size is an important role in Ration formulation. It measures the quantity (%) of effective Fiber from the feed the dairy cow.

Analyzing the particles the cow consumes can be done on a forage sample, or on a mix of forages. It’s recommended to test TMR to get real value of a fiber level in the ration. Particle size can be effected by the forage’s stage of maturity and its chopped length. Bringing representative sample to a laboratory, properly mixed is essential factor (as this should represent the actual feed is being fed to the animals). There are certain accepted levels for particle size for Corn Silage, Haylage and for TMR.

By testing Forage’s/ Ration’s or TMR’s particle size, you can avoid rumen acidosis, rumen fermentation and digestion problems, or animal’s intake. Therefore, too fine or too long feed particles is not recommended. For a good feed evaluation, get your TMR particle size tested in several locations along the feeding route.

Contact us for details!


Mar 22, 2018

Forage/ Hay Sampler for the most accurate results

Often, we get asked on the best way to obtain a Hay/ Forage sample. A Representative sample is the first step in getting an accurate feed test.

Collecting a representative sample is very important. Some important questions on forage sampling:

  • How large is your sampling lot?
  • What is the depth of your bales?
  • What is the type of the forage?
  • Was it raining or any other weather conditions while bailing?
  • How are the lots divided? By field? By feeding schedule? By other factors that may have affected quality?
  • Do you have a forage probe?

Make sure to follow the steps in sampling:

  • Collect at least 1 core sample from each bale to represent one lot  (15-20 bales).  If the lot is larger select, core every second or third bale.
  • Sample round bales by the round side of the bale, sample square bales at the end of the bale.
  • Collect at least 1000 grams from each lot, keep half of the sample, send the other half for analysis. Try to split it evenly, fines often have high levels of nutrients. There should be at least half a large Ziploc bag sent to the lab.
  • The samples you collect from each bale should not be exposed to air, and should be kept in a properly sealed ziploc bag in a cool & dry conditions.
  • Send the samples, for analysis as close to the date you collected them.
  • On the ziploc bag with the sample write the farmer’s name, type of a forage, lot/ area where sample was collected, date of sampling and any notes for conditions the may affect the results.

At Central Testing Laboratory, we are here to help you for advice or refer you to a Nutritionist.

We have a Forage Probe available for you to use to collect sample for testing. If you are in the area, please come in person, or call us to check the availability.

See you soon!

Jan 10, 2018

Arsenic in Feed & Food

Arsenic (As) is an element found naturally, and is mined from earth’s crust. Arsenic is toxic for humans. Arsenic was found to cause cancer, birth defects, diabetes and heart disease. Therefore, exposure through food and water should be controlled.

Arsenic has been used as a supplement in Swine, Turkeys and Chickens feed, in order to increase weight gain, feed efficiency and improved pigmentation. A compound of Arsenic called Roxarsone which used in antibiotic and anti-parasitic drugs, called Ionophore.

Poultry feed contains Arsenic make a big effect on the soil quality, air, food and water.

Arsenic is used commercially. Pesticides on crops contain Arsenic, wood products treated with Arsenical pesticides. Foods contaminated with high levels of Arsenic, such as; seafood, rice, water, juices, wine and poultry meat. Human consumption of these products with high concentrations of Arsenic is very risky.

Nowadays, many food distributors supply poultry raised without Arsenic, this has been promoted in medical facilities.

One of the methods to detect and quantify Arsenic is by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS). This is an accurate method that will be used in Central Testing Laboratory to measure Arsenic. Follow us to find on our new testing.

Dec 22, 2017

Selenium in Animal Feed

Selenium (Se) is an important antioxidant mineral in animal feed, and is known to contribute to the reproduction system. In many cases, Selenium is deficient in animal feed. Testing feed for Selenium and making balanced supplementation is required.

Selenium deficiency can cause animal’s weakness, heart failure, abortions and even death are correlated with Selenium deficiency. When animals consume more Selenium than needed , it causes toxic reactions (the window between deficiencies and excess is very narrow). Selenium concentrations should be often checked in Cattle, Sheep, Goats , Horses, Swine and Poultry. Cattle, Swine and poultry should consume 0.3 – 3.0 ppm (mg per Kg) head/day, Sheep and Goats should consume up to 1ppm and Horses sufficient feed can have  0.1 ppm Se per head per day.

Injections are commonly used in Livestock to supplement Se. Others, make Salt-Mineral supplement mixes, or Feed supplemented with Se to increase frequent intake. Another common way is Se fertilizer to increase Se concentration in Forage- an organic source of Se.

High concentrations of Selenium in Canadian soils are found in Southern Prairies and Ontario. Selenium is naturally produced in Mining regions.

Selenium is an essential nutrient and is used in commercial food. Selenium content in food results of the soil where crops are produced and animals are raised. High level of Se is found in Brazil nuts, fresh fish and Shellfish, various Bread types, Grain and Cereals.

Selenium can be measured by many techniques. ICP (Inductively Coupled Plasma)  is one of the most commonly used. Solid or liquid samples can be analyzed. It is highly sensitive and can determine concentrations of trace to major elements. Selenium testing will be available in Central Testing Laboratory Ltd soon.